The Golden Cages for Best Supporting Actress of 2021 goes to Anya Taylor-Joy for her role as Sandy in Edgar Wright’s Giallo horror-thriller, Last Night in Soho. Taylor-Joy plays the 1960s nightclub performer and doppelganger to present-day Eloise (Thomasin Mckenzie), who’s newly arrived in London. When they meet (or inhabit the same consciousness) in Ellie’s visions, she appears to be everything Ellie isn’t: scintillating, confident, worldly-wise. But it soon becomes clear that this glittering exterior hides dark secrets, and London’s seedy underbelly comes after the two of them.
Taylor-Joy is fantastic in the role and in many ways she’s more the lead actress than the supporting. McKenzie may have more screen time, but Taylor-Joy steals the spotlight, her ghostly rendition of Petula Clark’s ‘Downtown’ haunting characters and viewers alike. You may look to her previous performances as maligned child prodigy Beth in The Queen’s Gambit or the simmering Lily in Cory Finley’s Thoroughbreds to see her range, but I feel that we fully grasp her talents in Soho. In a stellar pairing with the costume designer Odile Dicks-Mireaux, her performance is really brought to life by fantastic period pieces that all but immortalize the stardom of Sandy and of the performer embodying her.
Soho spans so many themes, from a fascination with the past and mental health, to coming of age and learning to navigate independent life for the first time. It’s a unique feature from Wright and Taylor-Joy really serves to breathe life into the story. Evoking the sense of the 1960s through her whole performance – nuanced facial expressions, movements, speech – it’s a pleasure to watch one so talented and you could imagine she’d walked right out of the 60s and into our screens today, so authentic is her portrayal.